Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ateneo tops UP in world University Rankings

Ateneo tops UP in world list

DLSU, UST cited
By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:28:00 10/16/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo de Manila University is not only No. 1 in basketball, but is also the leading tertiary school in the Philippines, based on several criteria like peer and employer review, faculty-student ratio and citations of teaching staff.

But the University of the Philippines (UP), ranked No. 2 in the country this year after being No. 1 in 2007, dismissed the findings of The Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds (THE-QS) World University Rankings 2008.

UP said it did not take part in this year’s survey.

The THE-QS World University Rankings 2008 showed that the Jesuit-led Ateneo was leading the pack in the Philippines, followed by UP, De La Salle University (DLSU), and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

In the survey released this week, Ateneo ranked 254th, leaping from between 400th and 500th position last year. Ateneo was sandwiched between London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.

UP, the country’s premier state university, was at 274th place, up from 398th last year. UP was placed between two German universities—the University of Hamburg and Ulm University.

DLSU and UST, both Catholic universities like Ateneo, were ranked 415th and 470th, respectively. In the past year, the two schools were out of the Top 500.

The 2008 results reversed past trends, where the state-run UP led in the rankings and where Philippine universities hovered between the 400 and 500 levels.

Best showing for RP schools

Overall, this year highlighted the best showing of Philippine universities in the rankings yet.

The survey was conceived to rank the world’s top tertiary educational institutions based on how other academies (40 percent) and employers (10 percent) perceive them, the number of citations in accredited publications (20 percent), student and faculty ratio (20 percent), and the number of international teachers (5 percent) and students (5 percent) in the institution.

The survey also measured the schools’ performance in the fields of life sciences, arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and technology.

The THE-QS website only lists the top 100 schools in the field subject rankings. None of the Philippine institutions made it to the top 100 list.


Ateneo officials said they were heartened by the school’s strong showing.

Antonette Angeles, Ateneo vice president for academic affairs, said the community “was very happy” about the results. “It is important to us because it shows how people outside see us,” she said.

The findings, Angeles noted, reflected Ateneo’s efforts to internationalize the university and to encourage more research work from its faculty.

Ateneo has consistently enjoyed positive perception from the business community, she said.

By contrast, UP raised doubts on the survey’s validity, saying the university did not take part in this year’s survey. It took part in 2007.

Problematic methodology

In a statement, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, UP vice president for public affairs, said the state university did not join because the survey organizers refused to disclose where and how they got their data.

“Since it does not specify who are surveyed or what questions are asked, the methodology is problematic,” Hidalgo said.

For this year’s survey, UP was not invited to participate, she said.

Hidalgo said UP president Emerlinda Roman only received an e-mail message from QS Asia Pacific director, Mandy Mok, notifying her that UP had “gone up in the rankings.”

The QS e-mail also informed UP that it could advertise in the 2009 Top University Guide and join the university fair for a fee of $49,000, Hidalgo said.

“UP can hardly be expected to spend more than P2 million on publicity for itself involving a survey conducted by an organization that refuses to divulge where it obtains its data,” Hidalgo said.

Harvard tops list

The survey showed that Harvard University in Massachusetts topped the 2008 list, as it did in the previous years. It was followed by Yale University, also in Massachusetts, and University of Cambridge and University of Oxford—both in Britain.

Two institutions from the Asia-Pacific landed in the Top 20: the Australian National University at 16th place and the University of Tokyo at 19th place.

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